Festivus, Humanism, Roots, and Pfeffernuesse

December 23, 2021 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning alternative festive holiday fans. Today is Thursday, December 23, 2021. December 23rd is the 357th day of the year, and 8 days remain.


Festivus is celebrated (by some) each year on December 23rd. This “holiday” was created as an alternative to the crass consumerism of Christmas.
If you were a regular viewer of the popular TV show “Seinfeld” you probably think that Festivus is a contrived holiday created by one of the writers of the show – and you would be partially correct. In fact, Festivus is a contrived holiday, but it was created around 1966 by Daniel O’Keefe – over three decades before that “Seinfeld” episode, (titled “The Strike”), which aired on December 18, 1997.
Mr. O’Keefe created Festivus as a way to celebrate the holiday season without buying into its commercialism. A traditional Festivus celebration includes a plain aluminum pole in lieu of a Christmas tree, the annual “Airing of Grievances,” the traditional Festivus dinner (meatloaf), and performing various “Feats of Strength.” The traditional Festivus greeting is “Happy Festivus” – and the “official” slogan of the holiday is “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
Since we are already in a celebratory mood anyway, I see no reason why we all shouldn’t celebrate Festivus. Surely you have an old aluminum curtain rod in your garage to serve as the Festivus pole, and surely, you all have some grievances to air. In addition, how much trouble would it be to make a meatloaf for your Festivus feast? And, as far as the “Feats of Strength” are concerned, they are open to interpretation as nearly as I can glean, so they shouldn’t be a problem either. For the complete details regarding the celebration of Festivus, click this link.
It was Dan O’Keefe, Daniel O’Keefe’s son, who wrote the script for that aforementioned “Seinfeld” episode.


HumanLight is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually on December 23. Like Festivus and Kwanzaa (which begins on December 26th), HumanLight is a modern invention. It was created as a specifically Humanist celebration centered around the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice and within the western world’s holiday season.
HumanLight was established by the New Jersey Humanist Network in 2001. Humanists cast HumanLight as a celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.” They celebrate a positive approach to the coming new year, generally through the spectrum of Humanist (and particularly secular humanist) philosophy—secular as opposed to religious. The December 23 date allows HumanLight to connect itself to the December holiday season without interfering with other winter holidays which many Humanists may also celebrate.
HumanLight began with a single event in Verona, New Jersey in 2001. In 2006, there were twenty American events listed on the holiday’s homepage, and the American Humanist Association became HumanLight’s first national sponsor. In 2007, the first HumanLight celebration outside of the United States took place in Chester, England.
If you decide to celebrate HumanLight, learn more about Humanism and the HumanLight holiday.

Roots Day 

Roots Day is celebrated each year on December 23rd. Although the reasons for Roots Day are obvious – celebrating your roots – the “roots” of Roots Day remain a mystery. I found no information in any of my sources regarding who created this holiday, or when it was created.
The holiday season is full of family functions and gatherings, so it’s the perfect time to reflect your roots. Many people take their family history and ancestry for granted, and/or never learn about the struggles and triumphs of their ancestors and the history of their family name.
It is our genealogy that makes us who we are today, so sit down with your older relatives and talk to them about the past. You may hear some funny stories and learn a few things about your family that you never knew before. Who knows, you may discover a few famous people perched in the branches of your family tree – but you might also find a few skeletons hidden in the family closet as well. No matter what you discover, I hope that your family tree more resembles a spreading oak tree – than a totem pole.
If you want to celebrate Roots Day, start researching your family history. There are several websites, such as Ancestry.com that can assist you in starting your journey through the branches of your family tree.

National Pfeffernuesse Day 

National Pfeffernuesse Day is celebrated annually on December 23rd. Appropriately, it celebrates Pfeffernuesse cookies – a traditional cookie that originated in Central Europe.
According to Wikipedia, the name Pfeffernuesse “translates to “pepper nuts” in German. The “pepper” part comes from the small amount of pepper used to make them spicy. The “nuts” part comes from their texture; which is hard and crunchy like a nut. It is interesting to note that there are no actual nuts in the recipe; which includes gingerbread spices (anise, cloves, nutmeg), pepper and citron. The small amount of black pepper adds to the spiciness without adding heat.
From what I can glean from my sources, these cookies are often dunked in wine when eaten. However, if allowed to sit for a few days, they do become softer.
If you opt to celebrate National Pfeffernuesse Day, try baking a batch of these unique cookies. You’ll find myriad recipes for Pfeffernuesse cookies, like this one all over the internet.

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